The Classic COR/COTR Reference Updated!
Incorporating the most important changes to regulations affecting federal acquisition, this third edition of The COR/COTR Answer Book remains the “go to” reference for CORs, COs, and other acquisition professionals. Included in this third edition are: • Updated and expanded coverage of the policies and regulations on government property • Revised dollar thresholds that comply with the most recent changes • In-depth coverage of performance-based payments Coverage of the new FAR rules on COR certification details the elements of this new three-tiered mandatory certification program, along with the requirements on training, experience, and continuous learning. The easy-to-use question and answer format facilitates quick access to specific information. In this third edition, The COR/COTR Answer Book continues a tradition of trusted service to acquisition professionals carrying out their vital role in contract planning, formation, and administration.
Table of Contents
About the Author
Chapter 1: The Contracting Officer’s Representative and Contract Fundamentals
1. What is the COR?
2. What other terms do some agencies use in place of “COR”?
3. What terms or roles can be confused with those of the COR?
4. What is the source of the COR’s authority?
5. What authority may be delegated to the COR?
6. What is the COR’s authority on a contract?
7. When should a COR be selected and designated for a contract?
8. How are CORs selected and designated?
9. What selection criteria does an agency use to select the COR?
10. When is a letter of designation used?
11. What are the elements of a letter of designation?
12. What other means of designation do agencies use to outline the duties of a COR?
13. What are the general duties of a COR?
14. In what areas of contract administration are CORs usually assigned duties and responsibilities?
15. What are the COR’s communication and documentation responsibilities?
16. What typical occurrences require the COR to communicate with the CO?
17. Why is it important to be aware of limits on communications with contractors?
18. What are the differences between formal and informal communications with a contractor?
19. How does the COR respond to contractor requests for information or action?
20. What kinds of communication does the COR have with subcontractors?
21. What are the requirements for proper documentation of communications?
22. What should the COR document?
23. What is the COR’s role in interpreting technical requirements?
24. What is the technical direction clause?
25. What is an agreement?
26. What is a contract?
27. What are the types of contracts?
28. What are the elements of a contract?
29. What is “agency”?
30. What is an independent contractor, and what is an agent?
31. What is actual authority?
32. What is apparent authority?
33. What is ratification?
34. How can agency be terminated?
Chapter 2: The Federal Acquisition Process
35. What is the federal acquisition process?
36. What is the vision of the federal acquisition process?
37. What are the goals of the federal acquisition process?
38. What are the phases, steps, and functions of the federal acquisition process?
39. What are the COR’s performance objectives as a member of the contracting team?
40. What are standards of performance? Why are they important?
41. What are some strategies that the acquisition team can use to meet these standards of performance?
42. What ethical principles apply to the COR, and why are these principles important?
43. What general guidance on ethics does the FAR provide?
44. What are other useful sources of ethical guidance?
45. What procurement integrity requirements apply to the COR?
46. What ethical concerns and issues of integrity are relevant to the COR’s work?
47. What is the gratuities clause?
48. What else must the COR know about gratuities and gifts?
49. Why must the COR avoid conflicts of interest?
50. What does the Procurement Integrity Act restrict?
51. How is the Procurement Integrity Act enforced, and what penalties can be imposed for violating it?
52. What can the COR or other government officials do if they are concerned that they may have violated the Procurement Integrity Act?
Chapter 3: Planning for the Acquisition
53. What is the acquisition plan?
54. What acquisition background information and objectives should the COR provide when he or she assists in preparing the acquisition plan?
55. How does the COR assist in identifying acquisition-related needs from program and project plans?
56. What sources of information can assist the COR in identifying these acquisition-related needs?
57. What is market research, and why is it important? How are market data classified?
58. How does the COR perform market research?
59. How does the COR coordinate funding information with the contracting office before solicitation to determine if funds are available for the government to enter into a contract?
60. What are required supply sources?
61. What are the three types of competition?
62. What are the exceptions to full and open competition?
63. What are work packages?
64. What tasks does the COR perform to develop a work package?
65. What information should be included in the purchase request?
66. What if the CO finds elements of the PR missing or deficient?
67. What is a requirements document?
68. What is a product description, and what are the different types of product descriptions?
69. What must the COR do to encourage government offices to provide the appropriate information when determining the government’s needs?
70. What should be avoided, and what must be included, when creating a requirements document?
71. What is a surveillance plan, and what is the COR’s role in developing it?
72. What is an independent government cost estimate?
73. What are evaluation factors, and what is the COR’s role in preparing them?
74. What are the two general types of evaluation factors?
75. What two steps should the COR take before submitting the work package to the CO?
76. What is government property?
77. What are the COR’s roles on the contract with regard to government property?
78. How does the COR determine if government property should be used on the proposed procurement and what government property should be used?
79. How does the COR notify the CO of the use of government property, and what property-related issues should the COR consider in his or her notification?
80. What government property issues may arise after a solicitation has been issued?
81. What are the differences between requirements for services and requirements for supplies?
82. What is the Service Contract Act?
83. When does the Service Contract Act apply, and when does it not apply?
84. What are wage determinations?
85. What is the COR’s role in making wage determinations?
86. How does the COR determine whether services are personal or nonpersonal?
87. What general guidance should the COR follow in making the determination of whether service contracts are personal or nonpersonal?
88. What are advisory and assistance services, and how are they classified?
89. When should advisory and assistance services be used, and in what situations can they not be used?
90. What is performance-based acquisition (PBA)?
91. What are the elements of a PBA?
92. What are the overall objectives of PBA?
93. What are some examples of performance standards?
94. What are some of the different types of incentives that can be used in PBA?
95. What is the commercial activities (CA) program?
96. What is a commercial activity?
97. What is an inherently governmental activity?
98. What is the commercial activities competitive process and who are the officials responsible for its execution?
99. What is the COR’s role in commercial activities?
Chapter 4: Preaward Technical Assistance
100. What does the presolicitation phase of the contracting process involve?
101. What tasks will the COR need to perform in providing technical assistance during the presolicitation phase?
102. What is an “inherently governmental function”?
103. How do inherently governmental functions relate to the COR’s duties?
104. What is a statement of work?
105. What is the role of the SOW in the contract?
106. Why is it important to prepare a good SOW?
107. How does the SOW relate to measuring contractor performance?
108. What is a work summary?
109. How and when does the COR write a justification for other than full and open competition?
110. What are the exceptions to full and open competition?
111. What presolicitation documents may require approval by program office officials or the CO?
112. What is a suggested sources list?
113. What is a technical evaluation plan, and what does it include?
114. When is a technical evaluation plan not required?
115. What steps does the COR take in developing the technical evaluation plan?
116. What general criteria must the CO apply in determining whether to provide for government financing in the initial solicitation?
117. What are the criteria for providing government financing for noncommercial contracts?
118. What are the criteria for providing government financing for commercial contracts?
119. What methods of government financing are available?
120. What methods of payment may the CO select?
121. How does the CO determine whether to require bonds for a contract?
122. What types of bonds are available for the CO’s consideration?
123. What is the COR’s role in financing and bond needs assessment?
124. What tasks will the COR need to perform to provide technical assistance during solicitation?
125. What is a market survey and why is it conducted?
126. What are the available methods of soliciting offers?
127. What is the advantage of sealed bidding?
128. When is sealed bidding used as a solicitation method?
129. What evaluation factors are used in sealed bidding?
130. What types of contracts may be used with sealed bidding?
131. What are the advantages of negotiation as a solicitation method? …
132. What criteria are used in selecting negotiation as a solicitation method?
133. What evaluation factors are used in a negotiated procurement?
134. What role does the COR play in assisting in contract type selection?
135. How do the quality of requirement definition and the level of potential risk help determine the contract type that will be used?
136. How does the COR help conduct a risk analysis?
137. What are the types of fixed price contracts and what is the role of risk in each?
138. What is the COR’s role in monitoring fixed price contracts?
139. When are cost reimbursement contracts typically used, and what is the risk involved?
140. What are the types of cost reimbursement contracts?
141. What is the COR’s role in monitoring cost reimbursement contracts?
142. What is the allowable cost and payment clause?
143. What is an allowable cost?
144. What are reasonable costs?
145. What are allocable costs?
146. What funding clauses are related to the cost-reimbursement contract?
147. What are time-and-materials and labor, hour contracts, and what are the risks involved in using these contracts?
148. What are indefinite delivery contracts?
149. What is a letter contract?
150. What is the COR’s role in fielding preaward inquiries and providing technical responses and advice on other issues to the CO?
151. What information may not be given to bidders prior to the opening of a sealed bid?
152. In a negotiated procurement, what information may not be given to the contractor prior to an award?
153. What is the COR’s role regarding inquiries or requests for information from contractors?
154. What is a prebid or preproposal conference?
155. What steps does the CO take in planning and conducting the prebid or preproposal conference?
156. What is the COR’s role in planning the conference?
157. What tasks does the COR perform during the evaluation and source selection phase?
158. How does the COR provide assistance to the CO in receiving, processing, and evaluating proposals?
159. What is the technical evaluation panel?
160. What is the COR’s role in protecting proposals from unauthorized disclosures?
161. What does the CO expect from the TEP evaluation?
162. What can the COR expect when the CO briefs the TEP?
163. What report does the TEP provide the CO?
164. What is a technical cost analysis?
165. What is a tradeoff analysis?
166. What are negotiation objectives?
167. What is past performance, and how is it used to evaluate contractors?
168. What should the source selection team take into account when evaluating past performance?
169. What should the COR know about conducting past performance surveys?
170. What is the COR’s role in conducting the past performance survey?
171. What is the COR’s role in providing assistance to the CO on other terms and conditions and responsibility evaluation?
172. How is contractor responsibility determined?
173. What is a preaward survey?
174. When is a preaward survey typically conducted?
175. What is the COR’s role in conducting a preaward survey?
176. What are negotiations, and what are discussions?
177. What is the objective of discussions?
178. What is the COR’s role in developing a negotiating strategy?
179. What are debriefings? When are they conducted? What is the COR’s role in them?
180. What is a protest?
181. What is an interested party?
182. What are the methods by which a bidder may file a protest?
183. What is the formal protest process?
184. What may GAO recommend when a protest is filed?
185. What is the COR’s role in the event of a protest?
186. What are unsolicited proposals?
187. What criteria must an unsolicited proposal meet to be valid?
188. What qualities are considered in the evaluation of an unsolicited proposal?
189. What is the basis for rejection of an unsolicited proposal?
190. When may a CO accept an unsolicited proposal on a sole source basis?
191. What is the COR’s role when an unsolicited proposal is received?
Chapter 5: Planning for Contract Administration
192. What are the major goals of the postaward orientation period?
193. What is the postaward orientation conference or start of work meeting?
194. What is the purpose of the postaward orientation conference?
195. What tasks will the COR need to perform during the postaward orientation period?
196. What is the preliminary meeting prior to the postaward orientation conference?
197. What are typical agenda items for the preliminary meeting?
198. What does the COR need to do to prepare for the preliminary meeting?
199. Why does the COR need to read and understand the contract?
200. What are the most important items in the contract for the COR to review?
201. What is the uniform contract format?
202. How does the COR help the CO track progress on the contract?
203. How does the COR prepare a discussion paper?
204. Who attends the preliminary meeting?
205. Who is the chairperson for the preliminary meeting?
206. What usually takes place at the postaward orientation conference, and what should the COR prepare before the conference?
207. In what instances may a CO decide not to hold a postaward orientation conference?
208. What is the COR’s role at the postaward orientation conference?
209. What is the postaward orientation conference report?
210. Why is it important to resolve identified problems before the contractor begins work?
211. How is the postaward orientation conference documented?
212. What tasks will the COR need to perform to validate delegated duties, establish and maintain files, and plan for the performance of COR responsibilities?
213. Why should the COR carefully review and accept or reject delegated duties in the letter of designation?
214. What steps are involved in the review of the letter of designation?
215. What are the COR’s record-keeping responsibilities during performance of the contract?
216. What are some good practices for the COR to follow in maintaining the contract file?
217. What if the COR is not asked to maintain a contract file?
218. What does the contract file include?
219. In establishing a contract file, what must the COR consider?
220. Why is the maintenance of the contract file so important?
221. What is the agency past performance file?
222. What are the COR’s responsibilities with regard to past performance information?
223. What is the COR workplan, and when should it be developed? What are the COR’s responsibilities with regard to the plan?
224. How does the COR prepare the COR workplan?
225. What is task order contracting?
226. What responsibilities will the COR need to carry out when working with task order contracts?
227. What does the COR do to prepare the task order and associated documents?
228. What is the contractor’s task cost plan?
229. What is the COR’s role in reviewing the task cost plan?
230. What are the differences between single- and multiple-award task order contracts?
231. What must the CO do, and what must he or she consider, when working on a multiple-award task order contract?
232. When must a multiple award be made?
233. When is a single award made?
234. What type of contract is used for a single award?
235. What are mandatory sources and what type of contract is typically used to acquire services or supplies from these sources?
236. What is ordering officer authority?
237. When does the CO delegate ordering officer authority?
238. What are task monitors and when does the CO appoint them?
Chapter 6: Contract Monitoring, Inspection, and Acceptance
239. What tasks must the COR perform to successfully perform monitoring actions as authorized by the CO?
240. What is the COR’s role with regard to contractor requests during performance of the contract?
241. How can the COR anticipate, and therefore most effectively respond to, contractor requests?
242. Why is careful monitoring of a contractor’s performance essential?
243. What steps are involved in monitoring contractor performance?
244. What monitoring functions are CORs routinely delegated?
245. What are commercial requirements?
246. What is involved in monitoring technical compliance for commercial requirements?
247. What are noncommercial requirements?
248. What is involved when monitoring technical compliance for noncommercial requirements?
249. What techniques are used to monitor technical compliance?
250. What tools are best used to monitor schedule compliance?
251. What is cost monitoring?
252. How are individual costs monitored?
253. What techniques are used to monitor individual costs?
254. What are the criteria for determining when payments to the contractor are allowable under a contract?
255. Why is it important to track planned or budgeted expenses?
256. What documents can be consulted when monitoring total costs in a cost-type contract?
257. What is financial monitoring?
258. When does the government initiate financial monitoring?
259. What steps are involved in monitoring financial conditions?
260. What steps are involved in monitoring statutory and regulatory requirements?
261. What techniques does the COR use to monitor the contract?
262. How does the COR select the monitoring techniques to be used?
263. With whom should the COR have meetings and what are the basic benefits of such meetings?
264. What are the advantages of onsite visits?
265. What rules of conduct does the COR need to follow when making an onsite visit?
266. When may onsite visits not be necessary?
267. When are phone calls best used in monitoring performance?
268. What kind of documentation should be created when making phone calls?
269. What is the advantage of reviewing contractor reports or daily logs?
270. What kind of information do progress reports include?
271. What do production contract reports include?
272. What is included in R&D contract reports?
273. What may a COR review of contractor requests reveal?
274. Why is a timely response to contractor requests important?
275. Why does the COR need to document and report meaningful communications with the contractor?
276. What must the COR be aware of when reviewing tracking and management systems?
277. What types of documentation should the COR use to document monitoring of contractor and government performance?
278. What should be included in memorandums to the file?
279. Why use trip reports? What should be included in them?
280. Why use telephone records? What should be included in them?
281. Why use required reports? Who prepares them?
282. What is included when inputting information in tracking systems?
283. What should be included in minutes of meetings?
284. Who should keep the minutes? To whom should they be distributed?
285. Why is correspondence a good method of documentation?
286. What is a technical analysis?
287. What should the technical analysis include? Who should receive copies of the technical analysis?
288. What is the overall role of the COR in monitoring the contract?
289. What is a constructive change?
290. What is the COR’s role in resolving constructive changes?
291. Who may identify a potential constructive change?
292. How should a COR notify the CO after identifying a potential constructive change?
293. How and when does a contractor notify the CO of a potential constructive change?
294. What format should the notice of change follow?
295. What does the COR do if the CO determines the change is permissible?
296. What is the COR’s role in the event of negotiations?
297. What is the contractor’s performance responsibility?
298. What tasks will the COR need to perform to successfully inspect contractor delivery or performance and to inform the CO when accepting or rejecting deliverables?
299. What are the three steps the COR should follow in performing his or her inspection and acceptance duties?
300. How does the COR document inspections?
301. What should the COR take into consideration when determining whether to accept supplies or services?
302. When is nonconformance determined?
303. When may nonconformance be accepted?
304. What should the COR do in the case of minor nonconformance?
305. What should the COR do in the case of major nonconformance?
306. How much time is allowed for acceptance?
307. When may acceptance be implied?
308. What and where is the point of acceptance?
309. When does the transfer of ownership occur?
310. When does the government assume responsibility for damages?
311. What types of documents are considered to be evidence of final inspection or acceptance?
312. Why is the acceptance procedure important?
313. When the COR recommends rejection of items received, what is the first step he or she must take?
314. What must the notice of rejection include?
315. When must the notice of rejection be in writing?
316. How does a notice of rejection affect the contractor’s delivery schedule?
317. What information should the COR provide the CO regarding recommended rejection?
318. How may a contractor reply to a notice of rejection?
319. If the contractor submits a proposal in response to a notice of rejection, what are the COR’s resulting responsibilities?
320. What is past performance information?
321. How is the COR’s role in documenting past performance significant to future source selections?
322. What tasks does the COR need to perform to document a contractor’s performance in the agency’s past performance file?
323. How does the COR document performance information?
324. What are the sample rating areas the COR may use to rate contractor performance?
325. What are the five sample rating factors and their associated scores?
326. What steps does the COR take to notify interested parties regarding contractor performance?
327. What is the COR’s role in maintaining evaluations?
328. What is the FAR’s policy on administration of government property?
329. What are some key terms the COR needs to know to successfully carry out his or her property administration duties?
330. What tasks will the COR need to perform to successfully administer government property?
331. What is the COR’s role in supervising the initial transfer of government property?
332. How does the COR monitor the contractor’s use of government property?
333. In what cases might the CO ask the COR to investigate and resolve government property problems?
334. When may government property be commingled with the contractor’s property?
335. When government property is no longer needed, what should the COR do?
336. What should the COR do if he or she suspects that fraud or other civil or criminal offenses have been committed during the performance of the contract?
337. To whom should the COR report any suspicions of fraud or other civil or criminal offenses?
338. Should the COR investigate his or her suspicions of fraud or other illegal activity?
339. How are postaward orientation conferences used to brief the contractor on, and prevent, fraud or other civil or criminal offenses?
340. What constitutes a violation of a federal statute during contract performance?
341. What are some typical indicators of fraud?
Chapter 7: Administering the Contract
342. What is the COR’s role in the contract modification process?
343. What key terms does the COR need to be familiar with regarding modifications?
344. May the COR make a contract modification?
345. How does the COR assist the CO in making contract modifications?
346. What are the COR’s primary tasks related to reviewing and recommending modifications?
347. What are some circumstances that can prompt a change to the contract?
348. When should the COR not proceed with a contract modification?
349. What is a technical evaluation?
350. What information should a technical evaluation report include?
351. What steps should the COR take in preparing the technical evaluation report?
352. Why is it important to consider the scope of the contract?
353. When is a proposed change considered to be within the scope of the contract?
354. What should be considered when determining if a change is outside the scope of the contract?
355. What is the COR’s role in providing information on the effect of a contract change on cost or price? How can contract changes be classified?
356. What assistance may the COR be asked to provide in preparation for, and during negotiation of, a contract change?
357. What is an option?
358. Who is authorized to exercise an option on a contract?
359. What is the COR’s role in exercising an option?
360. What will the COR need to do to process an option?
361. What role does the COR play in evaluating available options?
362. How does the COR help the CO determine the need for, and possible impact of, an option?
363. What is market research?
364. What market research information regarding a proposed option should the COR submit to the CO?
365. What types of market research should the COR consider conducting?
366. What if market research information is not available?
367. What kind of documentation about an option should the COR develop and provide to the CO?
368. What is a delay?
369. What are the types of delays?
370. What are the tasks the COR will need to perform with regard to delays?
371. What steps does the COR take in identifying and verifying a delay in performance under the contract?
372. How does the COR assist the CO after notifying him or her of the delay?
373. What are contractors generally asked for in their response to the delay?
374. What are concurrent or commingled delays?
375. What are recoverable expenses?
376. What is a stop work order? When are these orders issued by the government?
377. What is the COR’s role in issuing a stop work order?
378. What tasks will the COR need to perform in order for a stop work order to be issued?
379. What are the potential conditions under which a stop work order might be issued?
380. May the COR issue instructions to stop work?
381. What should the COR do if he or she thinks work should be stopped?
382. When the CO decides to authorize a stop work order, what is the COR’s role?
383. What is a claim?
384. What are the COR’s responsibilities in the case of a claim?
385. What is the Contract Disputes Act of 1978?
386. How does a contractor notify the government when it has a problem that could result in an equitable adjustment or a claim, and how does the government respond to this notification?
387. What is a dispute?
388. What conditions can lead to disputes under a contract?
389. How does a dispute become a claim?
390. What kinds of disputes often develop into claims?
391. What are the warning signs of a potential dispute?
392. What does the COR do to assist the CO in resolving disputes?
393. What is alternative dispute resolution?
394. How does the COR help the CO process formal claims?
395. What should a claims file include?
396. What is a remedy?
397. What is the COR’s role regarding remedies?
398. What is a breach of contract?
399. When a breach of contract has been identified, what should the COR provide to the CO?
400. What may the government do when a breach of contract occurs?
401. What is a letter of forbearance? When is it issued?
402. What are delinquency notices?
403. What are liquidated damages?
404. What factors must the COR consider when rejecting nonconforming supplies or services?
405. What are latent defects?
406. What is fraud?
407. What are gross mistakes amounting to fraud?
408. What are warranties?
409. What are government warranty clauses?
410. What is a warranty of merchantability?
411. What is a warranty for a particular purpose?
412. What tasks will the COR need to perform regarding remedies?
413. What kind of performance failures may occur during contract performance?
414. What does the COR typically do to provide technical assistance to the CO in the event of a performance failure?
415. What is a payment?
416. What is the COR’s role in payment authorization?
417. What tasks will the COR need to perform to successfully authorize payments?
418. What is partial payment?
419. What is prompt payment?
420. What is a contract financing payment?
421. What is government policy regarding performance-based payments?
422. What are the prescribed bases for performance-based paymentsand how are they established?
423. How are performance-based finance payments to be liquidated?
424. What is government policy regarding advance payments for noncommercial item contracts?
425. What is an invoice payment?
426. What types of payments are applicable to commercial item purchases?
427. What steps does the COR take in processing a payment?
428. What types of invoices can a contractor submit?
429. How does the COR calculate the payment amount?
430. What information must a voucher include?
431. What are cost allowability factors?
432. What is the COR’s role if there are differences between the submitted invoice and the amount the government will pay?
433. What should the COR do if the contractor disagrees with the amount the government proposes to pay?
Chapter 8: Contract Termination and Closeout
434. What are the principles of contract termination?
435. What is the preferred method of contract termination?
436. What are the government’s rights with regard to contract termination?
437. What is termination for convenience, and when does it occur?
438. What is a termination for default (or cause), and when does it occur?
439. What is a wrongful termination for default?
440. What is forbearance?
441. What is a waiver in the case of a termination?
442. What are the main reasons the government may choose to discontinue a contract?
443. What are the differences between noncommercial and commercial contract terminations?
444. How are terminations of noncommercial contracts conducted?
445. How are terminations conducted under commercial contracts?
446. What is a delinquency notice?
447. What is a cure notice?
448. What is a show cause notice?
449. What are excusable delays?
450. What is the COR’s role in a contract termination action?
451. What are the contractor’s duties upon receiving a termination notice?
452. What should be included in the COR’s notification to the CO of possible contract termination?
453. What kind of analysis or recommendations should the COR provide to the CO?
454. What are some available alternatives to termination the CO and COR may consider?
455. What is the COR’s role in assisting the CO with termination proceedings?
456. What information might be included with the termination decision?
457. When may final payment be made to a contractor?
458. What is the purpose of contract closeout?
459. When is a contract considered closed?
460. What must be done to close out a contract?
461. What is the COR’s role in contract closeout?
462. What should the COR do with his or her files upon closeout?
463. What does the COR do to close out the contract file?
464. What other responsibilities might the COR have during closeout?
Appendix A: COR Duties and Tasks
Appendix B: Acronyms